2:00PM Water Cooler 7/23/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our five problem states (Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and Arizona), with New York for comparison:

Another few days of this and I’ll have to call a peak (though not, I think, without another deep dive into the data-gathering). And then look for a multiplying growth in smaller states…..

Thanks to alert reader JJ, we now have, in addition to case numbers (bold), positivity (dotted), and death rate (scrunched together at the bottom). JJ comments: “You can see how while CA, FL, and TX are close in number of cases, the positivity rate in TX is double of CA and FL is triple.” From “How to Understand COVID-19 Numbers” [Pro Publica]:

When there aren’t enough tests available, as was the case in New York in March, the number of cases reported will be an undercount, perhaps by a lot. That’s where case positivity rates come in: that measures the percentage of total tests conducted that are coming back positive. It helps you get a sense of how much testing is being done overall in a region.

“WHO guidelines say we want that to be below 5%,” [Matthew Fox, professor of epidemiology and global health at Boston University] noted. When a positivity rate is higher, epidemiologists start worrying that means only sicker people have access to tests and a city or region is missing mild or asymptomatic cases. When almost all of the tests come back negative, on the other hand, it’s a good indicator that a locality has enough tests available for everyone who wants one, and public health officials have an accurate picture of all the infections, Fox said.

He gave the example of Massachusetts, where he lives. Currently, daily positive case counts have been steadily falling for the past three months. “The positivity rate is now below 2%, so I feel confident in saying that we know what’s going on, and it’s not that we’re not doing enough testing and we’re missing a lot of positive cases.”

On the flip side, any state where the positivity rate is higher than 10% is “really going to worry me,” Fox said. “That tells me that we’re probably missing a fair number of cases, and you’re not doing enough testing to see what’s going on.”

Fox noted that some states in the Sun Belt, such as Arizona and Florida, have recently had very high positivity rates, even above 20%. “That means we don’t have full visibility.”

So in terms of undercounting as measured by positivity, the order from worst to best would be AZ, FL, TX, GA, CA, except that CA, at 7.42%, is still too high by WHO standards. And AZ, FL, TX, GA would make Dr. Fox “really worried.”

CA: “California got impatient. Now it tops New York for most coronavirus cases” [Los Angeles Times]. “California is No. 1 in part because it is the most populous state but also because millions of residents have been unwilling, or unable, to practice the social distancing and mask-wearing that public health experts say are the best measures to keep SARS-CoV-2 somewhat in check. ‘I think we started to exit shelter-in-place sometime around Memorial Day both emotionally and physically. And we are paying the price for that,’ said Nicholas Jewell, a biostatistics authority at U.C. Berkeley. ‘It’s like we should be tip-toeing out on the ice. What we did, instead, was all run out on the ice, some not too cautiously. And a lot of people fell through the ice.’… Though it passed New York in the total number afflicted, California (at nearly 40 million residents, more than double the population of the Empire State) has tallied just over 8,000 deaths from COVID-19, less than a third the death toll in New York….. ‘In New York, everyone knew someone who had COVID,’ [Dr. Geoffrey Leung, ambulatory medical director of Riverside University Health System in the Inland Empire] added, while many Californians still know of the disease only secondhand and thus lack ‘the emotional driver they had in New York.'” • I’m not sure this is anything more than a narrative. Sure, we’ve all seen the shaming beach pictures, but is the srpead really because of Covid refuseniks? Where’s the data for that? (Not to imply that people shouldn’t wear masks; they should, but the narrative of a populace whose wise leaders are too good for it should always be viewed with a hermeneutic of suspicion.

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Biden Just Made A Big Promise To His Wall Street Donors” [David Sirota, Too Much Information]. “Then this past Monday, Biden told his Wall Street donors that actually, he is not proposing any new legislation to rein in corporate power or change corporate behavior — and this was reported exactly nowhere, even as his campaign blasted it out to the national press corps.” • More:

You don’t have to believe me, you can click here to read the full pool report that the Biden campaign distributed to the press after his teleconference fundraiser. That event was headlined by Jon Gray, a top executive at the Blackstone Group, which is a private equity behemoth at the center of the climate, health care, housing and pension crises. Blackstone executives had already donated $130,000 to the Biden campaign and $350,000 to a super PAC supporting him.

Here’s the relevant section, reviewing what Biden said:

Second question, again from Mr. Gray, who noted that there are “a bunch of business leaders” on the line. “What do you think is essential to get this economy rolling again?”

“I come from the corporate state of American, many of you incorporated here,” said Mr. Biden. “It used to be that corporate America had a sense of responsibility beyond just CEO salaries and shareholders.”

“Corporate America has to change its ways. It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any. We’ve got to think about how we deal people back in.”

“Joe Biden to rich donors: ‘Nothing would fundamentally change’ if he’s elected” [Salon]. Come on, man. Biden can draw a clock, alright. A stopped one.

Biden (D)(2): It’s amazing to me how liberal Democrats are succeeding in making election 2020 almost completely vacuous with respect to policy:

Oy. Empathy. For example:

Or more to the point, given Portland:

Claiming that Biden, who wrote the USA Patriot Act, is “empathetic” is like claiming that Obama was empathetic when he drank that glass of water in Flint.

BIden (D)(3): “Biden calls Trump the first racist US president” [The Hill]. Biden: “We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.” • At least twelve Presidents owned slaves, so it’s good to know you can own slaves and not be a racist. So I guess we can leave a lot of statues up. (Honestly, liberal Democrats have the memory of goldfish. On the bright side, saying that Trump was the first racist President exempts all previous Presidents. Including, say, Truman, who would be canceled today, despite his support for anti-lynching legislation and integration of the armed forces.

Biden (D)(4): “Dolores Huerta on Backing Karen Bass over Kamala for VP” [Payday Report]. “A Congresswoman from South Central LA, [Karen] Bass has emerged on Biden’s shortlist for V.P. due in part to her more than 40 years of activism against police brutality…. Even some conservatives like George Will and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who labeled Bass ‘his favorite Democrat’ because of her ability to get deals done, are fans of her work. Representative Jim Clyburn, a key backer of Biden’s in South Carolina, also has signaled his support for Bass…. Bass has publicly indicated that she has no desire to run for President and would only serve as Vice President….. A selection of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren, two names on the shortlist, could set off a civil war within the Democratic party.”

Sanders (D)(1): On the Unity Task forces:

I think Sanders thinks he’s fighting the good fight — I disagree; the good fight was with strikers, but that moment has passed — but Obama didn’t stand up Biden so that he could enact the left’s platform, or anything more than the most tepid of reforms. Come on, man.

Sanders (D)(2): “As Bernie Sanders urges party unity, his revolution marches on” [Yahoo News]. “Sanders plans to participate in a formal acclamation releasing the delegates he won in the primary to Biden following the roll call at the convention next month, which is mostly taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday evening’s call, he also plans to tell his supporters and delegates that he feels Biden’s team has been ‘pretty respectful and decent’ toward him and the resurgent progressive movement he’s led since 2016.” • Oy. Meanwhile, this quote from Nina Turner is not in the article:

Trump (R)(1): “Is Trump on track for an October vaccine surprise?” [Politico]. “Buoyed by a series of encouraging early trial results, the administration is laying the groundwork for a high-profile rollout of initial coronavirus vaccines in as little as three months. It’s a best-case timetable that also tracks with the final weeks before the Nov. 3 election. The White House’s Operation Warp Speed has poured billions of dollars into developing a vaccine in record time, funding several efforts in parallel and buying up doses of the experimental shots in a wager that one will ultimately pay off…. There is virtually no chance that the U.S. will have a proven vaccine by Election Day, several top vaccine experts told POLITICO. It could also take well into 2021 to produce and distribute the hundreds of millions of shots needed to inoculate the entire country…. Yet at the same time, drugmakers’ sprint through early clinical trials means leading vaccine candidates could begin to show indications of their effectiveness by late October, offering Trump the opportunity to seize on them as a potential game-changer.” • As I said on July 10: “Trump is going to need some luck: The virus needs to peak and decline in the Red States pretty soon. Something colorably like a vaccine in October would help. So would a V-shaped recovery. A master-stroke in debate (and Trump really did take apart Clinton on trade). Something that scares suburban voters back into the Republican fold. But Trump is lucky.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Trump Attacks Liz Cheney After Feud With House Conservatives” [Bloomberg]. Deceptive headline. The news is in the body: “President Donald Trump attacked Representative Liz Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the U.S. House, saying Thursday she is ‘upset’ because he is trying to end overseas wars.” • I don’t love Trump, but he doesn’t have a Libya on his balance sheet, let alone Iraq and Afghanistan.

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OH: “Ohio speaker’s arrest in bribery probe muddies 2020 election” [Associated Press]. “Federal prosecutors say Republican Speaker Larry Householder and four others — including a former state GOP chairman — perpetrated a $60 million federal bribery scheme connected to a taxpayer-funded bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants. How many others got caught up in the sweeping probe is yet to be known. The scope of the accusations threatens to unfurl the GOP’s tight hold on Ohio’s governing body, which is set to draw new congressional maps in 2021 in one of the country’s most gerrymandered states. The chance to control Ohio’s representation in Washington for the next decade has put flipping at least some legislative seats on Democrats’ national radar. The scandal’s potential political fallout for Republicans was evidenced by the swift rebukes of Householder by politicians and party leaders alike. Practically before he’d left the federal courthouse Tuesday, a who’s who of top Republican brass was calling for Householder’s resignation.” • Bipartisanship: “An angry GOP Chair Jane Timken went further. Emphasizing that Republicans stand for ‘accountability and rule of law’ she distanced the organization from Householder and hinted that Democrats who participated in his bipartisan election to the speakership should share culpability for placing him in power.”

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton Alternate History Series ‘Rodham’ in Development at Hulu” [Variety]. • Please stop.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Who is the Most Dangerous Fascist?” [Black Agenda Report]. “Most American leftists are incoherent on the term fascism, and Democrats have utterly destroyed the word’s meaning.” And:

Homeland Security agents are actually behaving much like local cops anywhere in the United States. Chicago police for years ran a not-so-secret torture center into which Black men disappeared until they confessed to crimes they didn’t commit. Cities around the nation routinely deploy “jump-out-squads” of plainclothes officers that leap from unmarked vehicles to snatch people from neighborhood streets. And most local cops assigned to suppress anti-police protests remove their badges and identifying markers. Both local and federal SWAT teams routinely wear masks to hide their identifies. This, too, is “reminiscent” of fascism, but it didn’t arrive with Trump in January, 2017.

Indeed, Trump is a relative amateur in the dark arts of domestic repression, his past experience limited to terrorizing tenants in his apartment buildings and “apprentices” on reality TV shows. The tools of state repression Trump deploys as The Mad White Avenger were already well-used by past presidents. Barack Obama’s FBI coordinated the national police crackdown on Occupy sites , nearly a decade ago – a huge roll-up of dissent involving the synchronized actions of a Black Democratic president and mostly Democratic mayors and their police chiefs. The Black woman mayor of Baltimore called the people that took part in the 2015 Freddie Gray rebellion “thugs ” – dehumanizing her own constituents — as did Obama , whose U.S. attorneys demanded and got draconian sentences for defendants charged with property damage.

Obama made police state history when he got Congress to pass legislation allowing U.S. citizens to be indefinitely detained without benefit of trial or charge – a leap into the abyss that even George W. Bush dared not make.

This is Glen Ford at his coruscating best; go read the whole thing, which keeps getting better. (Though Ford did forget to [genuflect] at the mention of Obama’s name. Bad!)

The Great Assimilation™: “Billionaire Democratic donors give big to anti-Trump Lincoln Project” [Open Secrets]. “Billionaire investor Stephen Mandel — a longtime backer of Democratic groups — gave $1 million to The Lincoln Project last month. Bain Capital executive Joshua Bekenstein chipped in $100,000 to the group. He and his wife Anita have given $6.4 million mostly to Democratic causes during the 2020 cycle, making them the 20th most generous donors. The Bekensteins gave big to two other super PACs supporting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Unite the Country and Priorities USA Action. DreamWorks founder David Geffen — a million-dollar donor to Democratic super PACs in 2018 — also gave $100,000 to the Republican-led group. So did billionaire cable TV pioneer Amos Hostetter, another major Democratic donor. Retail developer Joseph Kaempfer added $75,000 after giving $500,000 to pro-Biden super PAC American Bridge 21st Century earlier this year.”

Interesting:

* * *

“Tech Thursday” [Election Line]. “Grand Rapids-based mail service provider Kent Communications, Inc. (KCI) announced this week that it has worked with local election officials to create a product called TrackMIBallot. The product used a service from the United States Postal Service, called Informed Visibility, to track each piece of ballot mail as it goes through the postal system. TrackMIBallot will track ballots as they are sent out to voters and also as they are sent back to the election office. So far, the City of Walker, the City of Lansing, Grand Rapids Township and Cannon Township have signed on to use TrackMIBallot for the upcoming election.” • Sounds like a good idea.

More touchscreen madness:

I love it that the election officials call touchscreens the “Express” option when they’re slower, less accurate, and put you in danger of Covid fomites.

UPDATE “NAACP asks judge to ban the kind of voting machines used in Mecklenburg County” [Charlotte Observer]. “The NAACP argues that new, touch screen voting machines risk exposing voters to COVID-19. It also said the ExpressVote machines are ‘insecure, unreliable, and unverifiable’ and threaten “the integrity of North Carolina’s elections.’ Wednesday’s request for an injunction said the machines create ‘unique and substantial risks to the lives and health of voters’ because each screen will be touched frequently. The two dozen or so counties using the machines, it said, ‘are forcing voters to choose between their right to vote, their health and potentially their lives.'” • I’m surprised a similar suit hasn’t been brought in LA against VSAP. The issues are the same.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Employment Situation: “18 July 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims 1,416,000 This Week” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 1,250 K to 1,400 K (consensus 1,350 K), and the Department of Labor reported 1,416,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 1,376,750 (reported last week as 1,375,000) to 1,360,250.”

Employment Situation: “U.S. new jobless benefit claims rise for first time since late March” [MarketWatch]. “The seasonal adjustment factors are playing havoc with the jobless claims data in July. This is the month when auto plants typically shut down for summer holidays but that is not happening this year. On an non-adjusted basis, claims fell 141,816 to 1.37 million this week. Big picture: Claims had been trending down from a peak of 6.9 million in late March. Economists won’t read too much into one report, but the increase will add to worries the spread of COVID-19 in July is slowing down the economy. They don’t expect much improvement in the labor market until the pandemic is contained. In addition, some firms that received Paycheck Protection Program funding could also be reducing payrolls. What are they saying? ‘To put these data in perspective, before the pandemic surge, the highest single weekly tally ever was 695,000 in 1982. Now, more than four months into the crisis, initial claims are still running at an astonishing 1.4 million per week. We continue to believe that after an initial period of sharp, but partial rebound as the economy reopens, the remainder of the process is going to be prolonged, and that the road back to February’s peak employment levels will be a long and bumpy one,’ said Josh Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.” • The right-hand stroke of the letter V is typically not “long and bumpy,” though with typography these days anything is possible.

Manufacturing: “July 2019 Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “Of the three regional manufacturing surveys released for July, all are in expansion…. Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts. Note that the key internals were mixed. This survey should be considered about the same as last month. Both new orders and backlog improved, with new orders in expansion and backlog remaining in contraction.”

Leading Indicators: “June 2020 Leading Economic Index Somewhat Improves – Business Conditions Still Point To A Weak Economic Outlook” [Econintersect]. “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 2.0 percent in June to 102.0 (2016=100), following a 3.2 percent increase in May and a 6.3 percent decrease in April.. – and the authors say ‘Together with a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases across much of the nation, the LEI suggests that the US economy will remain in recession territory in the near term.’ Because of the significant backward revisions, the current values of this index cannot be trusted. This index’s value is the lowest since the Great Recession. My opinion is that the economy entered a recession in March but likely left the depression in June when the economy began to improve.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 23 at 12:25pm. Now firmly in greed territory.

The Biosphere

“The Great Climate Migration Has Begun” [New York Times]. “Migrants move for many reasons, of course. The model helps us see which migrants are driven primarily by climate, finding that they would make up as much as 5 percent of the total. If governments take modest action to reduce climate emissions, about 680,000 climate migrants might move from Central America and Mexico to the United States between now and 2050. If emissions continue unabated, leading to more extreme warming, that number jumps to more than a million people. (None of these figures include undocumented immigrants, whose numbers could be twice as high.) The model shows that the political responses to both climate change and migration can lead to drastically different futures. As with much modeling work, the point here is not to provide concrete numerical predictions so much as it is to provide glimpses into possible futures. Human movement is notoriously hard to model, and as many climate researchers have noted, it is important not to add a false precision to the political battles that inevitably surround any discussion of migration. But our model offers something far more potentially valuable to policymakers: a detailed look at the staggering human suffering that will be inflicted if countries shut their doors.”

“Climate notes on the Democratic platform” [Heated]. “[S]ome climate language contained in the Democrats’ 2020 draft platform actually appears less aggressive than the climate language contained in the 2016 platform—at least as it pertains to the most important subject in climate policy: fossil fuels. Unlike the 2016 platform, the 2020 draft does not pledge to stop massive government subsidies and tax breaks to fossil fuel companies. Nor does it pledge to start charging them for their pollution via a carbon tax or price on carbon. Additionally, though the draft platform states plainly that ‘As Democrats, we believe the scientists: the window for unprecedented and necessary action is closing, and closing fast,’ it doesn’t mention specifically what it believes that window is. That’s important, as there are multiple scientific ‘windows’ for action, depending on how much climate damage politicians are trying to prevent. Without a specific goal—1.5 degrees Celsius? 2 degrees Celsius? 4 degrees Celsius?—it’s unclear what type of future Democrats are trying to secure.” • It’s really too bad that the propaganda resources devoted to RussiaGate weren’t devoted to climate change instead.

Health Care

“Why COVID-19’s biggest impact on healthcare may not be until 2022” [HealthCare Dive]. “Three significant shifts in healthcare financing are occurring as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact. First, as a result of job losses, there will be a shift in commercial insurance to government-funded insurance programs. Second, revenue for funding Medicare, based on payroll taxes, will be significantly decreased. Finally, states will have less tax revenue to pay for Medicaid, threatening the viability of this program as well. … This will result in millions of people seeking coverage through Medicaid programs, the individual marketplace or simply becoming uninsured. Healthcare providers have relied upon margins from commercial insurance to offset costs from poorer reimbursing government funded programs and uncompensated care. With more than 156 million Americans receiving employer sponsored insurance at the start of this year, and given recent projected job losses, providers may see a 17% shift in payer mix. The reliance on commercial insurance and cost shifting has become a necessary way for providers to financially sustain operations. With a 35% margin with commercial insurance compared to Medicare, a 17% shift in payer mix on a trillion dollar spend would result in a substantial reduction in financial resources available to hospitals…. On average, states are projecting about a 10% reduction in revenues in 2020, rising to almost a 25% reduction in 2021. Even without considering the growth in Medicaid enrollment hitting states, this reduced tax revenue will make sustaining current Medicaid program funding increasingly difficult.” • The author also believes that Medicare can become “insolvent,” but the Federal government, unlike the states, is the currency issuer, so no.

Police State Watch

“Trump says he’ll send federal agents to Chicago and elsewhere” [Seattle Times]. “President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department would send hundreds of additional federal agents into cities to confront a rise in shootings and other violence, escalating his dark rhetoric about urban crime and bashing local elected officials who have been wary of intervention by his administration. Trump, who has sought to make ‘law and order’ a campaign theme and denounced ‘Democrat-run cities’ as he seeks reelection, recounted anecdotes and statistics about a recent spate of gun violence in places like Chicago, while blaming local politicians for crime and criticizing the progressive ‘defund the police’ slogan. ‘We will never defund the police,’ the president said in remarks at the White House. ‘We will hire more great police. We want to make law enforcement stronger, not weaker. What cities are doing is absolute insanity.’ Standing beside Trump, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would send roughly 200 additional agents to Chicago and about 35 to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to bolster violent crime task forces that work with local police. The surge will build on previously announced plans to send about as many agents to Kansas City, Missouri, and more cities would be added, he said.” • I don’t want to seem sanguine, but 200 + 35 are not large numbers (though doubtless there are intelligence figures we don’t know about). I would like to know how the scale of this operation compares to Obama’s 17-city DHS orchestrated paramilitary shutdown of Occupy; I would bet this is the same size, or smaller. (Glen Ford says the same but better; see above.) Also, verbiage like “dark rhetoric” is best saved for Opinion, if the distinction between News and Opinion means anything any more.

Games

“AOC Introduces Measure to Stop the Military from Recruiting on Twitch” [Vice]. “U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) plans to file a measure that would prevent the military from using video games and esports as military recruitment tools. A draft amendment filed on July 22 to the House Appropriations bill would prevent the military from using funds appropriated by the bill to ‘maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.’ The House Appropriations bill is an early step in setting the Pentagon’s budget and there’s no guarantee Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment will survive the lengthy political process…. The Twitch amendment could falter at any step along the way, but the fact that Ocasio-Cortez introduced the amendment at all speaks to the mounting public pressure against the military using video games and Twitch as a recruitment tool.”

Class Warfare

“Tearing Down Black America” [Boston Review]. “In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing by Ferguson, Missouri, police, the U.S. Department of Justice found that the city’s harsh policing of its Black residents was the result of a systemic effort to raise revenue. The recent allegations that Breonna Taylor’s murder by Louisville police was tied to a special police squad—”Place Based Investigations”—makes the linkage between policing, municipal revenue creation, and redevelopment even clearer. According to attorneys for Taylor’s family, the warrants associated with narcotics investigations were meant to address one of the ‘primary roadblocks’ to a multimillion-dollar redevelopment initiative. As the attorneys put it, ‘When the layers are peeled back, the origin of Breonna’s home being raided by police starts with a political need to clear out a street for a large real estate development project and finishes with a newly formed, rogue police unit violating all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards.'” • It’s like race and class are evil twins.

News of the Wired

I’m with Sid!

Great thread. Sid is a Hero Kitten.

Taibbi’s mute list:

Taibbi’s new contest:

Readers, any entries?

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Wendys):

Wendys writes: “The tree without flowers is my Magnolia, I am not sure exactly what the other one is, it gets little berries and the birds like them.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

108 comments

  1. anEnt

    I apologize if this has been discussed / linked before, but this sort of sleight of hand is an example of how dissent is shunted away from the systemic issues and towards personal vilification. To some large extent our government depends on having people of good character in power. However, that is no reason to have ripped apart checks and balances and separation of duties that ceded the power to the executive that Trump is now wielding.

    But let’s leave the legalities aside for now. Because whether the Trump administration has the technical legal authority to deploy this show of force in this particular matter does not answer the question of whether it should do so.

    The legalities are the issue. If Trump can do this, any president can and eventually another will. But Wittes’ goal, as ever if you pay attention to his writings, is to preserve and extend executive power. He is more dangerous than Yoo because he is cautious and makes sympathetic noises.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/nothing-can-justify-attack-portland/614413/

    Reply
    1. Mr. House

      Other presidents have, you just didn’t read about it in the news. How do you think this is suddenly something new?

      Reply
      1. anEnt

        I am aware of history before Trump. In fact in the post you responded to I made reference to Wittes’ long history of advocating for more king-like powers for the executive that predates Trump.

        You seem to think that we ought to allow things to go on as before.

        One more though not related to your droll comment:

        Trump is obviously wielding power in places he has already written off this election in order to both pander to and distract his base. I’m not sure it’s going to work as well as he hopes.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Not necessarily the case. One could also seek an end to business as usual by sabotaging and destroying the neoliberal “governance as business” model via extra-market means, rather than dealing with it on its own terms.

          Never, ever let the enemy set terms.

          Reply
        2. mike

          oh, please. The places Trump is wielding power are out of control. In Portland they attack the federal court house nightly. Local mobs do not get to decide that Federal courts and buildings have to close in their area.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            Typical bourgeois management-class aristocrats, absolutely terrified of the prospect of someone else not being bossed and proving what a vicious, destructive lie they’ve been living and now have to take responsibility for. How much sympathy for your neoliberal viewpoints are you actually expecting here, anyway? You get none from me.

            Reply
          2. a different chris

            >they attack the federal court house nightly. Local mobs do not get to decide that Federal courts and buildings have to close in their area.

            Um, the Federal Courts and buildings are actually closed at night.

            (sotto voice) …this is how your brain “works” on pure fear and anger…

            Reply
        3. Mr. House

          “You seem to think that we ought to allow things to go on as before.”

          Incorrect. What i think is when you continue to pretend one side is better then the other (like we’ve done before) you are breathing more life into the problem. Which in my opinion is that democrats are somehow better then republicans. As long as this continues we’ll never move on to what we should do to correct this problem.

          “One more though not related to your droll comment:”

          Nothing really to say to this. Are you an Ent like treebeard?

          Reply
          1. Expat2uruguay

            Unfortunately, it’s not so much that Democrats are better, it is that Republicans are WORSE. To some extent, at this point both are irredeemable, but that does not mean they are irredeemable to the same degree

            Reply
            1. Mr. House

              Are they? I prefer the straightforward we don’t give a s$#^ about you compared to the we pretend to care about you but really don’t.

              Reply
            2. Massinissa

              I think you’re falling for Good Cop, Bad Cop here. The Dems are the Good Cop. The Republicans are after the same things but don’t bother to play pretend.

              I vote straight Dem down ticket so maybe I fall for the same thing… Its just, there literally aren’t any other options besides not voting or voting Libertarian. Greens don’t run in these parts of Georgia. Still, at least I’m under no illusions that I’m ‘voting for a lesser evil’ or whatever.

              Reply
              1. chuck roast

                Demand a paper ballot.
                Write in the names:
                Santa Claus
                Leon Trotsky
                Pablo Picasso
                Mickey Mouse
                And like that…

                Reply
            3. polecat

              No. Both Legacies are f#cking with us, all whilst trolling within the choppy waters They’ve helped to create.. for nonstop $$$ churn as they chew us down to the bone!

              I am SO done with Donkeys and Pachyderms. I wish they’d both go extinct!

              Reply
      2. Massinissa

        That’s true, but its usually to do things like breaking strikes or protests and the like, rather than going after paramilitary groups or something. So basically its usually used in ways that I’m against, so I have to agree with anEnt at least up to a point, that even though this isn’t a new thing, that doesn’t mean it is automatically a good and just thing, and could potentially be used for more dictatorial actions in the future than what Trump is doing now.

        Reply
        1. sierra7

          Rebellion is never pretty. For those who wish that all protests remain “peaceful” you are living in a fantasy world. I see many grievances wrapped up into the BLM movement/protests. Decent jobs, crushed wages, greedy for profit health care industry, excessive spending on MIC, continual degradation of our public school systems, corrupt court and legal system, in this the 2020 election year a choice between a “hair sniffing fetisher” and a, “grab them by the pus%^&* racist, the mostly ignored oncoming climate/environmental disaster….and so many other things that have impacted the “commons” so negatively over the past 50 years.
          What choice do the people have when their “elected” officials treat them with indignity backed by a, “…domestic occupying forces” that have no regard for the dignity of individuals of particular races????
          The play now is one of power. We shall see how much power the federal government is going to exercise in these areas such as Portland Oregon or other places where these protests are alive……What is happening is nothing new in American history (or in the history of other countries); if Americans think that substantial and or meaningful change will come to the great unwashed by leadership benevolence, you are sadly mistaken.
          Just achieving women’s’ right to vote took place over a period of 65+ years……lots of street demonstrations and some violence involved. The great labor laws that were instrumental to build our now destroyed middle class took decades of street violence.
          The ruling entities will not give up any power or make any meaningful changes for society at large until they fear those forces. Nothing, but nothing was ever “given” to the masses. They have to take what they deem necessary for civil lives that matter.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            A simple read of history would reveal: you have to frame the field of battle carefully.

            You said: “Decent jobs, crushed wages, greedy for profit health care industry, excessive spending on MIC, continual degradation of our public school systems, corrupt court and legal system.”

            These are (mostly) *class* issues. Bravo.

            But: BLM. (Remember, which specifically excluded the possibility of ALM). Problem, problem: those with *class interests* in common are very likely to have many different *skin colors*.

            Result: highly justified *class anger* fractures. Given the “B” in the headline, those without B in their epidermis can be persuaded that “this is not really your fight”. Or worse: “This is an attack on you”.

            Resulting Score: Aristocracy 1,000,000, Actual people 0.

            Lessons from a greybeard from the 1970s: choose a single, top line issue that unites, not one that by its nature divides. We chose “Stop The War”. It worked.

            Reply
            1. Eric Anderson

              Yes it worked. Being in the armed services it worked to make living stateside a miserable existence as an outcast.

              Reply
    2. Otto

      anEnt – I agree with the emotions. Our government with rare exceptions has not been made up of people of good character and I’m being careful to say that. From the beginning in 1775 different value systems were in place. Washington lost a thousand troops as president trying to establish civil order. Wilson was an a real facist. One could make quite a list. Actually, to be fair the list should start from 1630 at Plymouth Colony. Ok, a couple of issues you’ve brought up, ‘vilification’, more like viperous, Burr shot & killed Hamilton (I’m on Burr’s side), how’s that for behavior? From the beginning the ‘force’ has been strong. What force? The intense dislike between various factions which shifted quite often. My argument about ‘systematic’ issues is this, that they were intensely ignored or intense engaged, which as a country makes us the same as any other country (see Jared Diamond).

      Trump, while a villain, can hardly get that right. Plenty of presidents have done far worse, they were for better or worse better politicians about it. But, you know, it comes down to the people. We citizens. What is going on is good if it stays sustained and leads to an ‘overthrow’ if you will. Neoliberalism has got to go. As I said many a president has done worse then the Orange Menace. Congress needs to change the law so presidents have no such power on speed dial. Vlad is not going to nuke us and China might blow up show boats of ours, but like we haven’t done that to ourselves several times. Nothing ever changes.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        As is reported in a Great Book:

        By their fruits you shall know them.

        Many of the fruits of the PTB are getting more spoiled or downright rotten. When they show us who or what they are, believe them. Unfortunately the spoiling is spreading down to more apples at the bottom of many barrels. Apples or oranges it is getting harder to compare.

        Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            if i thought it would do any good, I’d be all for sending lots and lots of goats to DC.

            Reply
    1. Copeland

      Kousa, aka Chinese Dogwood. I’m sorry for pointing out that the fruit does somewhat resemble that spiked protein virus thingy, apparently hailing from the same part of the world.

      [hides under desk]

      Reply
    2. Idabit

      Cornus kousa – a stunning tree in spring, summer and fall. Fruit is held upright on tiny stalks -100’s of thousands on my tree.

      Reply
  2. Dr. John Carpenter

    “Biden (D)(2): It’s amazing to me how liberal Democrats are succeeding in making election 2020 almost completely vacuous with respect to policy”

    I don’t know, it seems to me like this has been what they’ve been trying to accomplish as long as I’ve been a voter. Besides, as you mention in Biden (D)(1), Biden is promising his donors nothing will change, so what is there to say about policy really?

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Dr. John Carpenter: Agreed. Further, the tell was including a tweet from put-up job, Amy Klobuchar, whose campaign was about as content-free as that of Mayor Peter Buttigieg, whose policy options were thoroughly content-free and flimsy. Now, Mayor Peter, the Philosopher King of South Bend, Indiana, has retired to his study to pen a book with the working title (very hard working) of “Trust,” which you can buy already. Mayor Peter is shilling it on YouTube well before its publication date.

      There is so much bad faith out there, and so little time.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        Another reason beside Portland that people are so ornery lately. It really was satisfying to stick pins in the Booty-boy doll. But he is such an empty vessel that no amount of pin-sticking could put the ju-ju on the boy. I miss him in a way. He is perfect 50’s. I can see him chatting it up with Mr. Ed out in the barn in black and white. Not in the least self-conscious. He would be perfect for selling Ajax the foaming cleanser…or Serutan…natures spelled backwards. You could write a running script on his next sentence, and sure enough, he’d spit it out. And to think that he is planning to torture us for decades to come with his shining goodness. Kill me now…

        Reply
    2. L

      It is no secret that their goal is to make this about anything but policy. Take this piece from Rahm Emmanuel, telling Democrats how to win (and by extension telling them why Sanders won’t).

      Money quote:

      As our nominee, Sanders would rip up and throw away the playbook that’s been responsible for every recent Democratic victory in such places as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. President Bill Clinton. The 2006 midterms. Obama. The 2018 midterms. Given that so much is on the line, is the risk really worth the reward?

      Of course given that Our revolution has notched a few victories his claim that the Sanders approach doesn’t work hasn’t aged well. But the basic thrust is clearly the Biden playbook: Sell fear of the other, feel the proles’ pain, and do nothing (substantive) about it.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        “…every recent Democratic [sic] victory in such places as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.”

        Yes, the 2016 elections in those places were spectacular results, weren’t they?

        Reply
    3. jo6pac

      I’m very happy nothing will change un old joe b. I wasn’t expecting any change, it’s just more of obomber 2.0. Then unlike the trumpster in your face style everything demodogs do will be behind a curtain of lies only prettier. Amerika will still diving to 4th world status and it will only hurt us on Main Street.

      Reply
    4. Otto

      And not the Republicans? Whatever Biden has said, trump has said he’ll do ten time worse. So there it is same policies but one of degree. So you favor the fast & furious?

      Reply
        1. philnc

          There _is_ that. Trump may be headed for the constitutional crisis over abuse of executive power that Obama deftly avoided. Whether Biden and his crew would be as clever and disciplined is hard to say. Some on the left have been accused of Accelerationist in preferring a fight with Trump over Biden.

          Personally, I don’t think a Biden admin would be able to resist the temptation to go full “law and order” by cheerleading vicious attacks on nonviolent demonstrators, and the police at all levels of government are now such an undisciplined and unruly mob that it’s hard to see how they can be restrained even if the POTUS willed it.

          It still looks like this is going to have to get settled “the hard way”: by a crippling general strike that breaks Wall Street and forces a realignment of the economy in favor of workers. That’s going to require an army of organizers to build up supporting communications and mutual aid networks, and to articulate demands in the clearest possible terms.

          Reply
      1. John k

        Maybe climate change should be my top concern, but I’m most worried about more foreign wars.
        Trump is trying to withdraw from the ones others started… IMO bringing in bush hands means Biden will start one in his first term. As did the previous three pres.
        Not that it matters who I vote for here in ca.

        Reply
      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Well, we’re not talking about Trump here, but the fact that you have to define Biden in terms of what you think Trump is going to do (ten times worse? I’m going to need to see some examples, please) is exactly the problem.

        Reply
    5. John k

      Promise them you’re not trump. If necessary play the lesser evil card. Under no circumstances promise them anything more substantial than hope and change or the masters will stop the cash flow.

      Reply
  3. Tom Doak

    I love how the couple who have given so much to Democratic candidates are listed as the 20th “most generous” donors. I am sure they want nothing in return (except maybe an ambassadorship).

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      They want access. Bain has Romney in the Senate and then they will have Joe in the White House.

      It’s bad news for Liz Warren. That Treasury gig isn’t looking too good if Bain gets to whisper in Uncle Joe’s ear. As Lambert says, that’s a damn shame.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Yes it is. Bad as she is she would be better than the banker Biden will pick.
        As it is, nobody on the left or right trusts her, and she’s a non starter for bank, and likely hedges/private equity, donations.
        Hard to believe she thought anybody but sanders woulda picked her… I guess she thought if she threw sanders under the bus she could be the lead progressive and win the nom… or else there’s another reward somewhere.

        Reply
    1. fresno dan

      JWP
      July 23, 2020 at 2:59 pm

      Astoundingly, when I was looking for an article to bolster my contention that unemployment is as bad as it was in the great depression, I had to use Forbes.
      https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2020/05/19/3-reasons-unemployment-is-already-at-great-depression-levels/#592d624d413f

      AND this is about 3 months away from a presidential election!!! Incredible how little attention to unemployment is paid. One wonders how this will all go down the memory hole once the election is over.
      I would bet the minute the election is over, not another dime for relief. Having health insurance, having someplace to live, are dependent upon having a job. The delusion that everyone will get their job back is amazing…

      Reply
  4. antidlc

    Tech Thursday” [Election Line]. “Grand Rapids-based mail service provider Kent Communications, Inc. (KCI) announced this week that it has worked with local election officials to create a product called TrackMIBallot. The product used a service from the United States Postal Service, called Informed Visibility, to track each piece of ballot mail as it goes through the postal system.

    When I read this, I immediately thought of Informed Delivery.

    https://krebsonsecurity.com/tag/informed-delivery/

    A year ago, KrebsOnSecurity warned that “Informed Delivery,” a new offering from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that lets residents view scanned images of all incoming mail, was likely to be abused by identity thieves and other fraudsters unless the USPS beefed up security around the program and made it easier for people to opt out. This week, the U.S. Secret Service issued an internal alert warning that many of its field offices have reported crooks are indeed using Informed Delivery to commit various identity theft and credit card fraud schemes.

    I hope security has been beefed up.

    Reply
  5. antidlc

    Yet at the same time, drugmakers’ sprint through early clinical trials means leading vaccine candidates could begin to show indications of their effectiveness by late October, offering Trump the opportunity to seize on them as a potential game-changer.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but should I trust anything that went through expedited clinical trials?

    Reply
    1. Paradan

      Some scientists that used to work for the FDA have said that all drug trials after 2004(some say 2009) should be considered invalid.

      Reply
  6. Tomonthebeach

    Where is this or a similar press release or promo video from the Biden camp or DNC?

    I NEVER, repeat never, said that I favored defunding the police. On the contrary, when asked about defunding I countered that the government should INCREASE funding for the police. I am telling the American people that President Trump and the GOP are lying to the American public when they say I want to abolish the police. So, Mr. Trump, where is your proof? Put up or shut up. Stop trying to create fear and loathing and divisiveness with your lies. [I’m Joe Biden and I approve of this message.]

    Not only would that roil Trump, but it might suggest that Biden does have a backbone after all.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      “On the contrary, when asked about defunding I countered that the government should INCREASE funding for the police”

      Well, he did send a lot of black people to prison.

      Reply
  7. Laputan

    In light of Taibbi’s comments, I thought I would resurrect a link from yesterday:

    https://www.thecut.com/2020/07/book-excerpt-big-friendship-by-aminatou-sow-ann-friedman.html

    A Cliff’s Notes for anyone who can’t make it all the way through: a rift is formed in a friendship between a white woman and a black woman – both of whom share a podcast and seem to be fairly well off since one is a “digital marketing strategist” and the other writes for major publications – after the black woman seems to be the only black woman invited to a birthday party. Seriously. It should also be mentioned that both of these women are over 30. Here are some highlights:

    “We had discussed plenty of times how disgraceful it was for people to plan or participate in all-white panels at professional conferences. (All-male panels? Also not great!)”

    “Aminatou was disappointed when Ann didn’t bring up the party incident first. Ann’s silence had made Aminatou doubt herself about whether or not the incident was a big deal.”

    ” “It was disorienting and makes me feel like I am no longer welcome in your home. I also resent that I have to be the one to bring it up, because my hope is that you also noticed.””

    ““I did notice how white the party was, but I didn’t take responsibility for that fact.” She took a few more breaths. “I really regret that. I’m really sorry that I didn’t bring it up first.””

    And on and on…being friends with either of these people sounds miserable. Think of how often this must happen between these two if this is all it took; it’s hard to imagine an interaction that wouldn’t devolve into some pointless, IDpol-spurred melodrama followed by a self-flagellating mea culpa.

    It’s not a low probability event given the population that you might have a small all-white, all-male, or both, panel just from a random sampling. But, I don’t know, maybe a basic understanding of statistics is now racist too.

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      Just read that story. What makes it absolutely ridiculous is using an analogy of somebody being unaware they dropped some mustard on someone else’s pants. It assumes that someone who has mustard fall on their pants wouldn’t say, “Hey, there’s mustard dripping on my pants.” And that their friend wouldn’t immediately sat, “I’m sorry.” And a spot of mustard on your pants – is that really a problem. Pants can be washed!

      The characters in the story aren’t friends, because the definition of a friend is someone you can be direct with, say uncomfortable things to, someone you trust. But the two characters don’t trust each other. They don’t even seem like fully realised characters.

      Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      I read here on NC a few days ago that measured time and the scientific method were cancelled for being racist.

      I remember seeing the link to the “patio party” piece yesterday, and wanted to read it…but dreaded doing so. I finally did, and I have to agree with you:

      being friends with either of these people sounds miserable

      Reply
    3. John Zelnicker

      @Laputan
      July 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm
      ——-

      I tried to read that piece, but was unable to finish it was so ridiculous. These women are not friends, although I’m not sure what you would call their relationship.

      Also, to add, Ann was not responsible for the guest list, someone else made it. So, my question is, why should she be responsible for sussing out her “friend’s” discomfort.

      Are we now supposed to be aware of all of the things that might bother a particular friend and be the first to bring it up if something happens so they don’t have to? Sorry, not sorry, but I’m not responsible for getting my friends to express their feelings with me. If they aren’t comfortable broaching a subject, then maybe the friendship needs more work in order to be a true friendship.

      I have some very close black friends who are close because they know that I have an understanding of the difficulties they face in life just for being black, e.g., that they are far more likely to be stopped by police than I am when they’re driving, etc. They have no problem calling me out when I drop the ball and say something inappropriate, as hard as I try not to.

      Reply
  8. KevinD

    Lambert:
    I’m not sure this is anything more than a narrative. Sure, we’ve all seen the shaming beach pictures, but is the srpead really because of Covid refuseniks?

    IMO – absofreakinlutely. Look at Fox News viewership numbers. I am surrounded by them.

    ..and always, thanks for what you do.

    Reply
    1. geoff

      Check out “Solving the Mask Shortage in Huntington Beach” on youtube in which two stereotypical surfer dudes attempt to hand out face masks in H.B. The amount of scorn and hate these guys get merely for offering FREE masks is amazing and frightening. It ain’t just Fox Country, y’all. (The channel is Chad Goes Deep, fyi.)

      Reply
  9. Carolinian

    Thanks for Glen Ford’s bracing alternative to the Seattle Times and “dark rhetoric.” Some of us are so old we can remember “if it bleeds it leads.” Back then dark rhetoric was catnip for the MSM–TV division in particular. Studies showed public perception of crime was greatly exaggerated due to constant emphasis on crime stories. Every summer CNN would find some blonde woman in peril to goose the slow period ratings.

    Our over the top militarized policing was their creation as much as anyone’s. The new sensitivity shows they are, if anything, a fickle lot.

    Reply
  10. Swamp Yankee

    Oh, Truman got canceled well before today. I remember posting a photo on Zuckerberg’s panopticon sometime in 2017, showing Harry giving a speech at a factory on his famous whistle-stop tour in 1948. Made a remark how he pulled it off by visiting the forgotten places in America. Was immediately “called out” by an African American academic acquaintance for doing so. Desegregating the military and putting a Civil Rights plank in the platform apparently don’t mean as much as they used to.

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      Harry was a mixed bag – he said that King’s march from Selma was “silly”, opposed the freedom rider sit-ins, and called MLK a troublemaker. He also opposed interracial marriage. But considering his policy accomplishments in a more overt racist zeitgeist, he beats most of the recent democratic and republican presidents by a country mile.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Who was immediately ” called out” out by your African American academic acquaintance? Truman for saying so to begin with, or you for pointing it out?

      I hope we begin studying all the tricks and methods of Leftard WokeNazism so that we can learn how to use the Vampire’s tools to dismantle the Vampire’s castle.

      Reply
  11. Riverboat Grambler

    Trump not starting a new war is often cited as one of the (only) positives of his administration, but I find that difficult to square with his assassination of Iran’s general Soleimani. No new wars so far, but apparenty not for lack of trying.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Wait until you see what Uncle Joe (or whoever will be pulling his strings) has planned for us next year. Hunter might end up on the Board at Raytheon.

      Reply
  12. HotFlash

    Matt Taibbi’s remake-some-famous-piece-of-lit-in-woke-language challenge is wonderful. See some entries here. My current fave, although so, so many good ones, is “Call me Ishmael (he/him/his).” This is the only thing ever that made me regret thtat I don’t tweet.

    Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Hillary Clinton Alternate History Series ‘Rodham’ in Development at Hulu”

    There appears to be a problem for the writers for this series. No matter how they write it, when she becomes President she quickly ends up in a shooting war with Russia which escalates to a nuclear exchange. That kinda puts a limit on how much they can go into her role as Madame President.

    Reply
    1. ChrisPacific

      It’s fiction. One firm stare from Hillary at the summit and Putin will back down, agree to all her terms, and invite her to Russia to advise on diversity policy. She will start a Russian charity and speaking tour, inviting all the shady oligarchs and mob bosses, who she will pressure to admit more women into their ranks. In exchange she will launder their reputations and convert them into successful business leaders and benefactors of society.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Don’t forget the “Communications Symposia” she will do with “P—y Riot.” Her work in the National Basilica will be revelatory.

        Reply
        1. Andrew

          Vitaly Chirchen (sp?) as U.N. ambassador for The Russian Federation to Samantha Power on the floor of the U.N. ” maybe the Pussy Riot could do a tour of The United States, maybe you could join it” .

          Reply
  14. jr

    Re: Rodham

    So the other Butcher of Libya finally wants to distance herself from the lifetime winner of the Lolita Express Frequent Flyer program. She reaches out and finds a hack of a pen for hire to create not just an alternative narrative but a whole new reality. This is how her life should have gone, if only she had dumped that bum. Love sucks sometimes, right? We’ve all been there, huh? Pedophile husband who harasses interns while you look the other way…..pedophile slave procurer shows up at Princesses wedding….Oh look:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/19/rodham-curtis-sittenfeld-review-hillary-clinton-bill-anne-

    “The author of American Wife returns with a fantasy of what might have been, in which Hillary becomes her true self.”

    Now that’s much better. I can hear the audience of the View heave a collective sigh…

    Reply
  15. jr

    Field note: West Village

    There was a small protest, maybe 40 strong, about two hours ago that came through on foot. They flew the Rainbow flag and their cry was “What does a community look like? This is what a community looks like!”

    Reply
  16. allan

    Offered more in sadness than in anger:

    Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli @HomelandKen
    Mayor @TedWheeler, last night you tried to appease the mob and realized what we’ve been saying all along: this mob is not peaceful, they are not about solutions, but destruction and violence.
    Let us @DHSgov help you to restore law and order and peace to Portland. #Menshevik

    [embedded video]

    The production values, which are a mashup of hostage video, The Blair Witch Project and Plan 9 From Outer Space, unfortunately distract from the profound content.

    Brought to you by the man who, as Virginia AG, tried to prosecute renowned climate scientist Michael Mann
    for the crime of scientizing.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      The best part is the #menshevik part. I get the feeling he’s throwing that term around without really understanding it very well, using that as an insult just makes him look sort of incompetent.

      Reply
    2. marym

      Also more in sadness than anger, from the department of shouldn’t this be a given?

      “PORTLAND, Ore.— U.S. District Judge Michael Simon today blocked federal agents in Portland from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or targeting force against journalists or legal observers at protests.

      Under the court order, federal agents also cannot unlawfully seize any photographic equipment, audio- or video-recording equipment, or press passes from journalists and legal observers, or order journalists or legal observers to stop photographing, recording, or observing a protest.”

      JULY 23, 2020 https://aclu-or.org/en/press-releases/federal-court-issues-restraining-order-federal-agents-portland

      Reply
  17. philnc

    There _is_ that. Trump may be headed for the constitutional crisis over abuse of executive power that Obama deftly avoided. Whether Biden and his crew would be as clever and disciplined is hard to say. Some on the left have been accused of Accelerationist in preferring a fight with Trump over Biden, but surely the responsibility remains with those in power, not the powerless.

    Personally, I don’t think a Biden admin would be able to resist the temptation to go full “law and order” by cheerleading vicious attacks on nonviolent demonstrators, and the police at all levels of government are now such an undisciplined and unruly mob that it’s hard to see how they can be restrained even if the POTUS willed it.

    It still looks like this is going to have to get settled “the hard way”: by a crippling general strike that breaks Wall Street and forces a realignment of the economy in favor of workers. That’s going to require an army of organizers to build up supporting communications and mutual aid networks, and to articulate demands in the clearest possible terms.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      It will also require a robust “United Front” organization. This needed ‘change’ will demand input and support from a wide range of ideological and cultural sources.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And that won’t happen until all the WokeNazis are driven into the Vampire Castle and the Vampire Castle is locked up with all the WokeNazis locked inside it. And is then burned down in such a way that all the WokeNazis are burned to death inside the Vampire Castle.

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      America’s most Evil president — Woodrow Wilson — was among other things an antiGermanitic culturacist antiGermanite.

      Reply
  18. Cuibono

    “Healthcare providers have relied upon margins from commercial insurance to offset costs from poorer reimbursing government funded programs”
    check Centene revenues for the LIE

    Reply
  19. Carolinian

    The Nation tells how the NYT has always had a thing about Russia.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/world/new-york-times-russia/

    Merz, who sometimes resisted Sulzberger’s desires to pound away at Russia, had a unique vantage. In 1920, he and Walter Lippmann had published a detailed study of the wildly inaccurate and ideologically distorted coverage of Russia by the Times during the Russian Civil War. The Times, Merz and Lippmann found, repeatedly published as news what the vehemently anti-communist publisher and editors wanted to see: the flight of Lenin and Trotsky; the imprisonment of Lenin; the overthrow of the Soviet regime. “The Russian policy of the editors of the Times,” Lippmann and Merz concluded, “profoundly and crassly influenced their news columns.”

    We’ve been here before.

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  20. skippy

    Interesting anecdotal to Covid in Brisbane neonatal and the massive decline in premature deaths, was quoted -90%. Hospitals are talking to each other as it sets the stage for a huge women’s health issue moving forward, especially considering the incentives and drivers behind the previous back drop and its outcomes.

    Interesting because it sets a stage for some non class based issues, which transcends the aforementioned, due to being gender specific and reproductive centric, and how it could effect currant orthodox economic driven methodology within the field.

    Other than that all I can say how surreal it is to have been basically living my daily existence largely unimpeded whilst everywhere else its going to heck. Even got a pay upgrade – heck of a world ….

    I wonder what supersedes “disheveled” marsupial …. when stuff seems like early episodes of season 2 Legion.

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  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    I think the flowering tree may be a kousa dogwood. Here is a bunch of kousa dogwood images.

    https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AwrEzetpFh9fcyIAPkJDDWVH;_ylc=X1MDMTE5NzgwNDg2NwRfcgMyBGZyAwRncHJpZANVSTk3WmVDclJZNlI4RjVOWnE0cDBBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwM2BG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzI0BHF1ZXJ5A2tvdXNhJTIwZG9nd29vZCUyMGltYWdlcwR0X3N0bXADMTU5NTg3NDcxMw–?fr2=sb-top-search&p=kousa+dogwood+images&fr=sfp&iscqry=

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